Red Rising – Pierce Brown

28 Aug

Red Rising

As many other reviewers have said, first there was Ender, then Katniss and now Darrow. They are not wrong. In some ways Red Rising, the first of the trilogy by Brown, is a lot like its predecessors. Brown presents a dystopian future in which a young teenager will overcome incredible odds to topple a government that has become incredibly corrupted. However, it is the manner in which Brown tells the story that makes it so good. While I found the Hunger Games enjoyable, I disliked Katniss. Darrow on the other hand is inherently likeable. He has something to fight for, and he knows what he wants. For me, Darrow is just more relatable. Combine that with the brilliant use of Greco-Roman culture and just all around good storytelling and you have yourself a good novel. I would say that anyone who even remotely liked the Hunger Games should give Red Rising a chance because it is in many ways a better version.

From the Vault: Public Enemies

24 Aug

Public Enemies

Public Enemies (2009)

Starring: Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard

Directed by: Michael Mann

Public Enemies is one of those cookie cutter gangster films. There is the lovable, smart, criminal that you want to succeed, despite him being a criminal. And there is the hard-working, no nonsense law enforcement officer hunting him down. Finally there is the beautiful woman who ultimately becomes the reason that our criminal outlaw gets caught. That is it, nothing incredible, nothing terrible. It is exactly what you expect. So if you are looking for a good gangster film then watch Public Enemies. If you are looking for something new and exciting look somewhere else.


Medicus – Ruth Downie

19 Aug


Have you ever watched a TV show that wasn’t entirely sure what it was doing until the 3rd or 4th episode and then all the pieces come together and it is amazing? Or a book that is a little slow out of the gates, but then you can’t put it down?

Well Medicus by Ruth Downie is not that. The book is incredibly slow. So slow that with about 70 pages left in a 350+ page novel I still did not know what the point of the story was or how it was going to end. I felt like there were 5 different plots all entirely unrelated. Character development is lacking despite the novel being so slow moving. The book takes place in a very interesting time period, Roman ruled England, but it fails to capitalize on this rich historical period other than a few references here and there. I hate to describe reading this book as a chore but that is certainly how it felt.

If someone were looking for a Roman era murder detective series (yes such a thing exists), I would point them to SPQR. It is virtually the same type of story told better, with more character development, better use of historical facts, and an all around more interesting plot. Also that series has 13 books. I would recommend giving Medicus a pass for anyone looking for a good historical fiction book.


18 Aug


Netflix has had a lot of hits since it started to produce its own programming. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black come to mind. Other shows have received more mixed reviews like their season of Arrested Development. Sense8 seems like it is going to fall right into the middle. I have only watched two episodes so far. Episode 1 really dragged on and I wasn’t sure I was going to give the show a chance. But I decided to watch Episode 2 and now I am getting more into the story. I will probably give the whole season a shot because I like the creators and trust Netflix to a fault, but the show could really use a shot of adrenaline in the next episode.

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Do All Movies Need Sequels?

16 Aug

Gladiator, Black Swan, Beautiful Mind, Good Will Hunting. These are all great movies that do not have sequels and yet audiences still love them. Not every movie merits a sequel and in many cases sequels today seem to be money grabs by Hollywood (Peter Jackson and the Hobbit, I am looking at you). In an era that seems starved for new ideas why do we keep falling back to sequels?

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Hateful Eight Trailer

12 Aug

Tarantino is back. The last time a trailer dropped for a movie of his I said that I had very high expectations. That movie was Django Unchained, which is my favorite movie of all time, right now. Now we have the Hateful Eight. While it does look to be a very interesting movie. This trailer did not grab me the same way that Django did. Tarantino rarely disappoints and this film clearly has an all star cast so I am still expecting big things.

Paper Towns Review

29 Jul

Paper Towns movie

Paper Towns (2015)

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Justin Abrams, Justice Smith

Directed by: Jake Schreier

Check out book review here

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